Title: Naturewalk

Author: Bill Nelson

In: Sport 40: 2012

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2014, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Keywords: Verse Literature

Conditions of use



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Sport 40: 2012


page 95


The batteries in my torch are old
and fading fast. I focus the beam
to a slim yellow swathe and swing it
from path to grass, to trees. Gulls
and parrots rustle and grumble
in the branches of creaky pines.
It is less frightening with the torch
switched off. I stop when I see a branch
or a leaf in the shape of a something.

As we arrived on the island
Matt the Park Ranger greeted us
in Te Reo. He has long blonde hair
and a Maori independence flag
in the window of his hut.
He knows all the names
of the Ewoks. He tells us
what to look for when we go out
at night, tuatara and giant weta,
the cows of the insect world
and little blues who sometimes
forget where the sea is.
He says it’s pretty spiritual
when a falcon drops by.

At a sharp bend near the end
of the walk a shape appears
on the path, it is unmistakably
a penguin, We are both
stopped, listening in the dark
like icebergs. I can just make out
wedge-shaped feet, the tip
of a wing loose at its side,
a small beak, turning left,
page 96 turning right, in my direction,
in the direction of a manuka bush.
A cloud passes over and when
the moon ambles back the little
penguin has gone.

On the way back I see Matt
through the window of his hut,
lights blazing, he leans back
in an old tartan armchair
with his eyes closed.